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be devoured by the fire of his jealousy, for he shall make a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land " (1: 14-18).
The silence in heaven and in the earth preparatory to the Lord's rising up out of his holy habitation to enter upon the work of judgment is thus spoken of in another Scripture, "Be silent, О all flesh, before the Lord, for he is raised up out of his holy habitation " (Zech. 2: 13); again it is said, “ “But the Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before him (Hab. 2: 20); and in the Psalms it is said, “Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared and was still, when God arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth, Selah” (76:8-9). Again in another Psalm it is written, “ Come and behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth; he maketh wars to cease unto the ends of the earth; he breaketh the bow and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth” (Ps. 46: 10).
CHRIST, THE GOLDEN ALTAR Therefore this silence precedes the blasts of the judgment trumpets, and since
many of the righteous, as well as the wicked, will be cut off in the consumption determined in the midst of the land, even as the Lord says, “I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked" (Ezek. 21:3), and as the righteous are slain by the wicked, calling upon God for deliverance and to be avenged of their enemies, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth” (Rev. 6: 10), their prayers come up like incense before God. Therefore it is said before the trumpets sound, “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar having a golden censer, and there was given unto him much incense that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne, and the smoke of the incense which came with the prayers of the saints ascended up before God out of the angel's hand” (Rev. 8:2-4).
CHRIST A PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC Now before any one can understand aright and correctly interpret these sayings, he must have knowledge of the Melchisedec order of priesthood, and of the patterns of things in the law. Christ is a priest of the order of Melchisedec. He entered upon that priesthood when he was born again from the dead, as it is written of him, “ Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee”; and again, “ Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (an immortal priest) (Ps. 110:4). This priesthood was ordained and es. tablished before the days of Abraham, and its numbers were increased by one when Christ was raised from the dead, and will be further augmented when the body of Christ, the righteous of all ages past, are born from the dead as Christ was, which appears and is clearly taught in the song that the four beasts and four and twenty elders sung when they fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odors which are the prayers of saints. Therefore it is said they sing a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth ” (Rev. 5:9-10).
Here the calling and hope and work of those in the resurrection who are redeemed out of every kindred and people and nation, is plainly stated. They are to be employed as kings and priests over mortal men in the earth, - kings and priests of the order of Melchisedec. Kings are appointed to rule over others beneath them. Priests are ordained for the purpose of ministering on behalf of sinners and those who repent and seek pardon from God, through a divinely appointed order of priesthood. Christ is the high priest of the order of Melchisedec. All his brethren will be kings and priests under him, and all the prayers and supplications of those under their supervision they present to the Father through Jesus Christ. He is himself the antitypical golden altar of incense before the throne, the altar upon which the Melchisedec priests offer up the prayers of all saints as a sweet incense before God.
The angel which came and stood at the altar having a golden censer (8:3), is one of Adam's posterity raised to angelic equality, and is therefore an angel and so called. He is a priest of the order of Melchisedec, but he offers much incense which is given to him, with the prayers of all saints, upon the golden altar which was before the throne. That altar is Christ. All prayers reach the Father through him only.
The angels that are engaged in the work of judgment, as they are brought to view in the Book of the Revelation, are angels from among men of our species, and as the angels in former ages were ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation, even so in the ages to come will the angels of Adam's race be employed, as Paul in his letter to the Hebrews testifies saying, “ For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak.” The world to come is to be placed under the Melchisedec order of priests, consisting of Christ and his brethren. Therefore all persons in times past from the beginning of the world, and during the times of Christ and his apostles, and since — all who are called to God's kingdom and glory are called to fill the positions of Melchisedec kings and priests in the ages to come under the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all, and to minister in those ages and generations on behalf of mortal men such as we are at the present time; but before the righteous of past and present times can enter upon that employment, they must be first made perfect by resurrection from the dead as Christ has already been.
Moreover, if these hopes and expectations are not according to the faith and hopes of these times of the various sects and denominations, it is simply because mankind have been deceived by false and ignorant teachers who in the early days of the church corrupted the way of the Lord as the antediluvian sons of God did before the flood, who walked after the vain imaginations of their own evil hearts even as it is now. The world is full of religion, but nearly empty of the true knowledge of God. There are many great revivals in which are developed a high degree of religious feeling, but unfortunately they are attended with a very low degree of scriptural knowledge and true religious intelligence,
FIRE FROM THE ALTAR
(Verse 5) “And the angel took the censer and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth (that is among the tribes of Israel), and there were voices and thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake, and the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound." The altar of burnt offerings and sacrifices was the altar from which live coals of fire were taken with the tongs and placed in the golden censer, or incense pan, by the priest. It was then placed by him upon the golden altar of incense which stood in the first apartment of the Tabernacle, but directly before the throne of the Lord which was within the second veil. In this manner the priests were required to burn incense before the Lord in the Temple service continually morning and evening while they trimmed the lamps. But once in a year the high priest was required to take the golden censer full of live coals of fire from off the altar of sacrifice, with incense in his hand, and enter within the second veil and burn incense before the Lord from above the mercy-seat, where it ascended up like a thick cloud from off the burning coals of fire before the Lord.
When, therefore, the angel took the censer and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth, the altar from which this fire was taken is the altar of burnt offering. Now, as has been shown, this altar is a symbol of Christ, the altar from which they have no right to eat who serve the Tabernacle. And the fire of this altar is employed for two purposes,— first to consume and to take away the sins of God's people, those who repent and are sealed with their Father's name in their foreheads. When the Prophet Isaiah (6:5-6) saw in vision the Lord sitting upon his throne attended by the seraphims, he exclaimed, “Woe is me, for I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me having a live coal in his hand which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, and he laid it upon my mouth and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thy sin is purged.”
This censer, therefore, which the angel filled with fire from off the altar and so scattered upon the earth, first takes away the iniquities of the one hundred forty and four thousand and purges their sins in one day, as the Lord testifies by the hand of Zechariah the prophet, saying, “ For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua, upon one stone (Christ) shall be seven eyes. Behold I will engrave the graving thereof saith the Lord of Hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day” (Zech. 3:9). Again he says
of the remnant, “ I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins” (Isa. 44: 22). Again the Lord speaks of them, saying, “In these days and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for and shall not be found, and the sins of Judah and there shall be none, for I will pardon whom I reserve” (that is the remnant who are the true Israel in that day) (Jer. 50: 20).
Burning coals from off the altar to the wicked is a symbol of wrath. The fires of judgment purify the gold and the silver, but consume the dross and the chaff; insomuch that that which purifies the righteous will consume the wicked. The righteous can stand fire and come through it like the three Hebrew children without even a smell of fire upon them, but the wicked cannot stand fire, but are like unto those who cast the three Hebrews into the fiery furnace; the flames licked them up like chaff. Therefore the wicked of the house of Israel cry under the sixth seal to the mountains and rocks, “ Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand.”
When the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and cast it into the earth, there were voices and thunders and lightnings and an earthquake. Fire from the altar signifies the wrath of the Lamb when he stirs up to anger the children of wickedness, and smites them with madness and blindness and obduracy of heart that they tear each other in pieces, as saith the Prophet Isaiah, “For wickedness burneth as the fire and shall devour the briers and thorns (that is the wicked), and shall kindle in the forest (forests of people), and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke. Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts is the land darkened, and the people shall be as the fuel of the fire. No man shall spare his brother” (Isa. 9:18-19). Times like these where there is fierce and great commotion resulting in deadly strife and fighting among men are fitly represented by voices, thunders and lightnings, and earthquakes.
THE SOUNDING OF THE TRUMPETS
First trumpet — Figurative "hail" and "fire"- Second and third trumpets -- Ravages of a cruel and blasphemous king - Fourth trumpet – No repentance - Fifth, or first woe, trumpet - King, worsted, summons Gog from “bottomless pit”— His army described as locusts and scorpions Sixth, or second woe, trumpet – Voice from "altar”- Loose "angels" bound in “Euphrates "— Their army - Seven thunders —" Eating little book”— Mystery of God finished – What it is -- Last trump-"Measuring Temple - The two witnesses — Their work, power and fate - Great "earthquake”– Overlapping of judgments
judgments — Seventh, last trumpet - Christ's "everlasting” dominion - Twenty-four elders - Nations angry — Resurrection - Wicked destroyed — Christ's coming — Symbolism of ark.
THE FIRST TRUMPET (REV. 8:7) “The first angel sounded and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth, and a third part of the trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."
The sounding of the first trumpet is the first signal to the four angels to let the four winds blow upon the earth, the sea, and the trees after the one hundred forty and four thousand have been sealed with their Father's name in their foreheads, out of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel. When that important work is accomplished and when there is nothing left of the twelve tribes of Israel but the rebellious and idolatrous element, then the Lord will punish them for all their iniquities. Then the winds of war will be let loose to blow upon them, not to fan or to cleanse, but to hurt the earth, the sea, and the trees, which are figurative terms by which the people of Israel are designated.
When the first trumpet sounds the alarm of war against both the righteous and the wicked inhabitants of the land, it is said, “There followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth.” The touchstone in this prophecy whereby we may interpret it, lies chiefly in understanding the various names and terms that the Spirit has employed in speaking of the same persons and people, cities and kingdoms, as the language is constantly changing. Christ is called by many different names, but they all refer to the same person. The Assyrian also is called by many different names; so is his army,- such as the four winds of the earth, the hail, the locusts, horses, caterpillars, palmerworms, and others. The king of Israel in those times is likewise spoken of by many different names and similitudes; so are the people of Israel. Therefore if a person is not mindful of these things, he soon goes astray in trying to understand and interpret this marvelous prophecy.